Category Archives for "LinkedIn Profile"

Nov 17

Women are Shooting Themselves in the Foot on LinkedIn

By LinkedIn Ninja | Latest Articles , LinkedIn , LinkedIn Profile

I’m dumbfounded. We have no one to blame but ourselves. LinkedIn released new analysis of gender gaps in the workforce including how well men and women use their LinkedIn Profiles to their own benefit. This analysis is based on the past year, and when added to the findings of their 2011-2016 Economic Graph study, it tells us that women definitely have work to do.

It is now a fact that your LinkedIn Profile IS your professional, digital representation to the world. When people Google any name, the first results are public LinkedIn Profiles. By default, every LinkedIn Profile is public UNLESS you change the setting to make it private. So, if it’s half complete and you haven’t given it any love, it’s likely visible and that’s the first impression that many people have of you.

It’s probably not much of a surprise, but men hype themselves and their accomplishments more than women. In fact, they tend to remove their early positions to emphasize senior positions with greater authority and accomplishment. It’s as if, they jumped right to the top. It’s debatable among LinkedIn experts if this is a good strategy, but it definitely emphasizes the positive.

Let’s look at some of the sad findings.

In the 2011-2016 Economic Graph project, they analyzed the differences in Profiles between men and women who received MBAs from the top 10 business schools. They found that female graduates, while having comparable numbers of skills and awards listed on their Profile, did not tend to complete the Summary or job descriptions. These sections tell your story! These sections make people notice and remember you. Even the brightest female minds in the business world are not taking the opportunity to shine and share information that could propel their career.

The most recent analysis looked at all women in the U.S. They found that women had shorter Profile Summaries and listed 11% fewer skills. As stated earlier, the Summary is what tells your story; it differentiates you from your competition. LinkedIn has also found that Profiles with five or more skills are viewed 17 times more than Profiles with fewer. So, increasing the number of skills listed on your Profile is important.

Before you jump in, take a step back to strategize.

If you want your LinkedIn Profile to be successful (help you attract that job, new client, or next step up the ladder), you it must speak to your target audience. You should not look at your LinkedIn Profile purely as an historical document. Yes, those you want to pick you care that you have the past credentials, but they also want to know how you can help them now and in the future. In fact, your LinkedIn Profile should be almost as much about them, as it is about you.

There are three types of LinkedIn Profiles – Jobseeker, Career Development, and Sales & Business Development.

The Jobseeker Profile is an enhancement and extension of your resume. It should be consistent with you resume (differences could raise flags), but should provide greater dimension and highlight special projects, accomplishments, and work samples. In addition to all of the facts and accomplishments related to your career, it should lay the case for why you are the best candidate for the type of job you want now. Your Profile Summary should be more like a Cover Letter.

The Career Development Profile is similar to the Jobseeker, but the Summary should focus on where you see your career going. You’re not looking, but you’re laying the groundwork for the next step up so that opportunities can find you. What do you want to do in the future? What are you learning now or skills you’re improving that will help you take that next step? Many recruiters are looking for employed people to fill their positions. If you’re ready to move up, make it easier for them to identify you.

The Sales & Business Development Profile is very different from the other two. Potential clients don’t care about your employee skills, they care about themselves – and explicit details about your sales skills, could even make them feel like prey. Your Summary should be more akin to an Elevator Pitch. It should tell people what products/services you provide, who you provide them for, and what makes you better and different than others offering the same. It should be very clear that if you offer what they need, that you’re the solution for which them.

Take Action

We have to reverse this trend. Your LinkedIn Profile is not the place to be humble. If you’re uncomfortable strutting your stuff, then your LinkedIn Profile is the best place to get comfortable – you’re not looking people in the eyes when they read it. It can also serve as a regular reminder of just how great you are when you need a boost of confidence. Pull out all of that things you’ve done that you didn’t think were a big deal and when you put them all together on your LinkedIn Profile, you’ll see it’s a pretty big deal.

Feb 07

LinkedIn Endorsements – How to Manage their Visibility (especially for financial advisors)

By LinkedIn Ninja | Latest Articles , LinkedIn and Financial Advisors , LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn just announced that we are nearing 1 billion endorsements given. While this new feature has launched much debate over it’s usefulness, U.S. financial and investment advisors have been dealing with the legal problems it has caused as a result of federal regulations forbidding the use of advertising with client testimonials.

This video will talk about the special settings that allow any LinkedIn user to control what appears on their profile in regards to endorsements that they have received for their Skills & Expertise. You can turn the visibility completely off. You can hide endorsements from specific people or hide endorsements for specific skills. You have much more control over this section than you may realize.


Title: LinkedIn Endorsements - How to Manage Visibility (especially for financial advisors)

Oct 25

LinkedIn Endorsements: Jury is Still Out, but Financial Advisors Beware

By LinkedIn Ninja | Latest Articles , LinkedIn and Financial Advisors , LinkedIn Profile

It’s been a month since LinkedIn launched the new Endorsements feature. There has been active discussion as to the value and usefulness of the new feature and many people have been trying to figure out LinkedIn’s motivation and big picture goal with introducing this easy, interactive feature. I’ve gotten several requests for my thoughts and interpretation, so now that some time has passed, I thought I’d share.

First, participating (if you’re not a professional with a regulatory body that monitors or forbids testimonials) can’t hurt. I agree with most that the endorsements section taken alone doesn’t mean much because it’s too easy to endorse calling into question the intentions and credibility of the people making the endorsements. There are people doing it specifically for quid pro quo and those who get endorsed are feeling compelled to reply in kind. It can become a numbers and popularity game.

However, it is only one part of a complex profile. When analyzed in combination with the other information on your profile, it could give people a deeper understanding. Think about the leaps that your mind makes in the following scenarios:

  • The person has many recommendations AND endorsements about the topics they profess to be expert in.
  • The person has some endorsements but no recommendations about the topics the profess to be expert in.
  • The person professes to be an expert and not only has no recommendations, but no endorsements (knowing how easy the endorsements are to give)

I don’t know about you, but I assume that the person in the first scenario is an expert, the person in the second is actively developing expertise but not quite there yet, and the third person doesn’t have the expertise they claim they do. Essentially, you’re going to have to decide if you want to participate so think about what the level of participation in this feature could be saying to your target market before making a final decision.

One thing to keep in mind is that the words that you enter in the Skills & Expertise section do affect where you show up in search results. So choosing to eliminate this section could have a negative impact on your visibility on LinkedIn if being found is important to you. Also, when people endorse you, the activity goes out into the news feed to your network. This helps keep you front of mind and it can increase your credibility if your network sees that you are regularly being endorsed by people – particularly if the people endorsing you are also in their network.

The Bigger Picture

So, How does this fit into LinkedIn’s bigger picture? First, many are claiming that it’s an attempt to “gamify” LinkedIn. I don’t know if I would classify the Endorsements as a “game” but I can say that it is only the second element that allows someone to post something to your profile that sticks and it does encourage activity. For the most part, LinkedIn profiles have been one-sided. Since status updates in the news feed drop off after about 2 weeks (sooner if you are very active), there is no permanence to two-way interaction on your profile (such as the Facebook Timeline) other than the Recommendations.

Second, we all know that LinkedIn is a huge database and LinkedIn loves data. If you hover over the skills, you can see that LinkedIn is monitoring the increase and decrease of the usage of the different skills. This will give them powerful knowledge of the changes in trends of skill usage and classification over time. Knowledge that they can sell to the ever thirsty staffing and recruiting industry.

Third, I’m hypothesizing that we could see the development of the Endorsements as a search filter for the recruiter premium packages. Since activity around the giving and receiving of recommendations is not very high and most enterprise corporations have policies against giving recommendations of employees for liability reasons, I can see the Endorsements feature lending some level of additional credibility in search results because at least there are some people willing to publicly vouch for you. I have no idea if this will come to be, but if I were LinkedIn, I’d use it that way.

It’s only been a month and with the rollout of the new LinkedIn profiles on the horizon, we will have to watch and see how it develops.

Endorsements and Financial Advisors

One of LinkedIn’s most valued industry verticals is financial services. It’s evident how important the vertical is given the amount of resources they have put into research to lay a foundation to get them more active on LinkedIn. However, I wonder how well they thought through the nightmare that this feature is unleashing on those companies regulated by FINRA and the SEC.

The Recommendations section was enough of a minefield, but at least you had to approve the recommendation before it appeared on your profile. With the endorsements, all you have to do is be using the Skills & Experience section and any connection can endorse you and it shows up immediately. The only approval you’re involved in is if someone wants to add a new skill to your list.

Since 1940, the federal government has forbidden anyone licensed to give investment advice from publicly advertising client testimonials. That is because it is impossible to duplicate performance from one client to the next due to the ever changing nature of the market and the individual’s own risk tolerances and goals.

So the issue with Endorsements lies in having CLIENTS endorse skills that are directly related to your work as a financial advisor. Technically, endorsements from people who aren’t clients for skills that do not pertain directly to your ability to invest shouldn’t be a problem.

The problem is that broker-dealers and RIAs are responsible for the oversight and monitoring. Most larger firms flat out prohibit the use of any Recommendations in LinkedIn whether or not it’s from a client or not. That’s because it’s too hard to monitor who is a client and who isn’t. For example, someone may give you a recommendation before they are a client, but what if they become a client? It’s simply too messy and too expensive for the larger firms to monitor. So, since the activity of Endorsements is exponentially greater than that of recommendations, I anticipate the Skills & Expertise section will be made off limits.

Removing the Skills & Expertise Section

You have too options. First, delete all of your skills in the Skills & Expertise section and the section won’t show up on your profile. Second, you can keep the Skills & Expertise section and actively monitor and hide Endorsements as soon as the come in.

To hide the Endorsements, go into the Edit Profile function and scroll down to the Skills & Endorsements section. You’ll see your endorsers. Click on the arrow at the far right of each skill that is endorsed and it will open up a window with everyone who has endorsed you. Next to their name is a button that says “Hide Endorsement.” Simply click on the button and the Endorsement will disappear. This action CANNOT BE UNDONE, so please be certain you’re ready to take it.

Just like any of the LinkedIn tools and features, you will have to decide for yourself what helps you share your brand and accomplish your goals. No one can make that decision for you.

May 09

How To Share Documents on LinkedIn

By LinkedIn Ninja | Latest Articles , LinkedIn , LinkedIn Profile , Marketing on LinkedIn

Update to this article 4/2016

Many people find this article via search and the method to share documents described in the original article is no longer valid on LinkedIn.  LinkedIn has since made it much easier to share documents.

Share Document via Status Update:Share a Photo or Document

LinkedIn recently had a paperclip that made it clear that you could share a document – such as a pdf, Word document, etc. – in a status update by directly uploading it. They have since removed that paperclip icon and only have the upload a photo icon. You CAN upload documents with the Upload a Photo function – you are not limited to only image files. Feel free to use that function for flyers and documents that are not stand alone photos.

Sharing Documents on the Profile:

LinkedIn has now embedded the ability to display work samples, marketing collateral and other documents, images, audio and video files directly in your LinkedIn profile. Add Media Icon This type of content can be added at the bottom of your Summary, below each Experience entry and each Education entry. Simply look for this icon when you are editing your profile.

 

Videos and audio/podcast files cannot be directly uploaded to LinkedIn, but you can share the link to the video or audio hosted somewhere else – such as YouTube, Vimeo, Broadcast News, iTunes, etc. Add Media - Get YouTube URL You need to use the actual link to the video – not the link to the web page is it embedded in. Look for the share icon in the media and get the shareable url. That is what you will need to paste into LinkedIn to embed the content in your profile.

Leveraging SlideShare for Sharing Content in Status Updates and on your Profile:

LinkedIn now owns SlideShare. Utilizing SlideShare to insert content into your profile or share in a status update is the method that will give you the biggest bang for your buck – though it takes a few more steps. SlideShare is a separate social network that was originally built for sharing PowerPoint Presentations. People search it for educational and informational content. It currently supports PowerPoints, Word Docs, Open Office Docs and Presentations, and pdfs. You can embed a YouTube video into a PowerPoint, but you cannot upload video directly. When you upload a file to SlideShare, it provides a simple interface to add to your LinkedIn profile. Each upload also has a unique url to share via status update.

The biggest benefit of SlideShare is that it provides analytics. If you want to know how many people are looking at your stuff, this is the only way to do it. LinkedIn provides NO analytics for content directly uploaded to the profile. A secondary benefit is that people may find you and your content directly in SlideShare and a tertiary benefit is that you can share the uploads on any social network and even embed them directly into websites and blogs.

SlideShare is free and your account can be built directly from your LinkedIn account. They also have a premium lead generation service to insert forms into your content to gather requests for more information from those who read them.

 

****The feature described below is no longer available on a LinkedIn Profile. Use the Updated Instructions Instead****

One thing that many people struggle with on LinkedIn is how to share content that doesn’t live on the web. By content, I mean documents, flyers, non-hosted audio files and the like. Much of small business still lives in the world of creating marketing collateral that results in a printed piece or a pdf file. Ideally, you would want to convert it to an html file and put it on your website which would give you a link that you could easily share on LinkedIn and with other social media. That can get a little tricky.

So, what do you do if you have a pdf flyer or newsletter that you want to share on  LinkedIn? You can’t attach documents to status updates. Heck! You can’t even attach documents to LinkedIn messages sent directly to your connections. So, does that mean that it’s just not possible to share documents and files? No! That’s where the partnership between  LinkedIn and Box comes in.

As long as you don’t mind who sees the document, you can share it on LinkedIn if you use the Box application on your LinkedIn profile.

To add the Box application to your profile, go to the More menu and scroll to the bottom and select Get More Applications. Find the application called Box and click on it. Click the Add Application button after making certain that the box next to “Display on my profile” is checked. You will have to set up a free account on Box before going any further. Once set up, you will be able to access your Box application from the More menu to add and remove files. You’ll see an Upload button that will walk you through uploading the document or file you want to share.

Once your file is uploaded, got to Edit Profile.  Scroll down to the Box application (if you haven’t used any applications on your profile yet, then it should be at the very bottom).  You’ll see the file that you uploaded and want to share.  If you see a big logo and a small file name, click on the Menu button in the upper right hand corner and select “List View” which will be the first item in the list. Your view will change to what you see in the image below.

If you hover your cursor over the file name, you will see a blue arrow appear at the end of the row.  Click on that arrow and you’ll get a drop down menu. Select “Get Web Link” and you’ll get a pop up with a web link that you can copy.

You can now use this link to share your document in social media status updates and via LinkedIn‘s messaging system. As you will see in the final image, when you use the “Attach a Link” feature, it treats your document just like any article. However, the description is the description of the Box application. To change that simply click on the blue Edit link at the end of the description and you can add your own description of what the document is that you’re sharing.

By the way, want to know the best part? Whenever anyone clicks on that link and downloads the document, Box will sent you an email notification. It can’t tell you who looked at it, but you’ll be able to track how many people do look at it.

A best practice is to always use a document format – like pdf or mp3- that is easily shared and used by all. If you leave your document in Word or other raw format, only those people who have that software will be able to open the document. Also, you would be giving a document that can be easily changed and manipulated allowing others to possibly steal your work.

Is this the first time you’ve ever heard this  LinkedIn tip? If so, please let me know in the comments.

Sep 25

New LinkedIn Profile Sections Not Just For Students

By LinkedIn Ninja | Latest Articles , LinkedIn Profile , Uncategorized

You may have seen the recent announcement from LinkedIn about new LinkedIn profile sections designed specifically for students. The article titled, Introducing New Profile Sections Designed for Students, explains how the new sections can enhance a student’s LinkedIn profile as well as how to add these sections to your profile (which I’m not covering in this article).

After quickly looking at the new sections, I realized that only 2 of those 5 new sections were truly specific to students (Courses and Test Scores) and that those of us long past our college days can take advantage of these sections to add depth to our profile beyond just our career involvement. These sections can be used to highlight your community and volunteer involvement as well as special “honors” – like speaking engagements – that may not be part of our normal work activity.

Here are the new sections that you can use for your profile and how the non-student can take advantage of them.

 

Organizations: It doesn’t say Student Organizations, it just says, Organizations.

One of the biggest complaints that I hear about the limitations of the LinkedIn profile is the ordering of current positions. As people progress throughout their careers, they often become involved in significant community and nonprofit work where they hold a leadership position or have played a significant role, and they would like to share this information on their LinkedIn profile. Sometimes it’s because of the prestige of the role, sometimes it’s because they want to promote the organization, and sometimes it’s for reasons that aren’t obvious. Regardless, this becomes a problem because the new volunteer position transcends the “real job” because all current positions are listed newest to oldest.

Now, instead of creating an “Experience” listing for your volunteer work, you can use “Organizations.” This new section allows you to list leadership positions and even associate it with one of your career experience items – so they are tied together – if you want.

If you’ve had a volunteer position listed on your profile and you’ve gotten recommendations for that position, you may be thinking that you’re stuck with the old format – you’re not. If you delete the volunteer position, the recommendations aren’t deleted with it; they go into a limbo where they’re not shown on your profile. After deleting, you simply go into Manage Recommendations and reassign them to the Experience position you’ve tied the Organizations to, click on “show” and they’re back on your profile. If someone wants to give you a recommendation for the volunteer Organizations, they simply assign it to the position in Experience tied to the organization and reference in the recommendation that it is for the volunteer work.

Projects: Projects aren’t just for students!

The new Project section can benefit both your volunteer and for-profit work. From the volunteer side, this is a great place to list significant community projects you’ve been involved in that are clearly defined. For example, most city Leadership programs require the participants to work together on a community project. Additionally, you may be part of a major project at work that would be beneficial to highlight. One of my personal examples is that when I was at Cincinnati Museum Center, I was part of the team that helped coordinate the first tax levy campaign. That wasn’t a normal part of my job activities and doesn’t really “fit” into my job description. The Project section will now let me share that accomplishment more easily.

Honors & Awards: This is DIFFERENT – and better – than the Honors & Awards section that is already on the profile!

This new Honors & Awards section isn’t just an empty text box like the one right above your Personal Information Section. This Honors & Awards section lets you enter specific honors and awards and connect them to a specific position. An “award” is defined by an outside source, but an “honor” is defined first by us. If you feel “honored” by any organization or event, then list it here! To be honest, I think this is a perfect place to list things like pro bono speaker engagements and the like. I was already doing that in the original Honors & Awards section, but the character limit was too small.

So, how are you going to take advantage of these new sections?

Interested in more tips? Don’t forget to sign up for the FREE LinkedIn Ninja eCourse, join the LI Ninja Black Belt LinkedIn Group!

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